The Australian Government‘s recent agreement with Woodside and Esso for gas supply to the east coast of Australia is seen as a positive development for local manufacturing and households, the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) said.
The union urges the Federal Government to enforce its supply commitments with other gas companies, as fast-tracked by the new Gas Market Code laws, which came into effect in July 2023.
Additionally, the Government is urged to open new gas fields, either on or offshore, to ensure a reliable supply of affordable gas for working families, manufacturers, and renewable energy markets. This is particularly important as existing gas wells in the Bass Strait are drying up.
Australia must consider 18% of its 82% renewable target by 2030, as gas is more flexible than coal due to its easier ‘on/off’ capability.
AWU National Secretary Paul Farrow stated that the union has been advocating for major parties to make deals similar to the recent Albanese Government agreement with Woodside and Esso.
“Since 2010 we have urged politicians of all stripes to reserve a portion of our Australian gas for Australians, for households, manufacturers and to ease our transition to renewables, and now finally someone has listened with a legally enforceable deal,” Farrow said.
According to him, manufacturers, particularly plastic manufacturers, require certainty in gas usage for product manufacturing and high-burning processes, as it is an irreplaceable resource for those who do not burn gas but use its chemicals.
“If Australia, and our regional neighbours in Asia, are going to get new zero emissions we’re going to need a flexible fuel like gas to ease the transition to a fully renewable grid well into the 2040s,” he added. “This is why we need to see new gas developments opened up on and offshore.”
“These deals with Woodside and Esso join the two inked last November with Senex and APLNG, we need to see more legally enforceable deals with other gas producers operating in Australia,” he continued.